Pittsburgh writer Meryl Francis on the “coolness of rock ‘n’ roll”, vintage and orange Calder | Fashion | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Tereneh Idia

Meryl Frances

Name: Meryl Frances
pronouns: She / she
Name: Stylish woman about the city
Work / Work: Writer, “Nonprofit Whisperer”
Websites: merylahfranzos.com, instagram.com/theicecreamsocialistparty

How would you define your style?

I’ve tried to pin it down so that it neatly hit the final category over the years, but it didn’t work. I’m a chameleon who leans towards sharp, bold, rock and roll and countercultural things.

Who inspires your style?
Kate Moss, Kristen McMenami, Melanie Kabayashi of Bag and a Beret, Carla Rockmar, @KarenBritChickGwen Stefani, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivienne Westwood, @Zadijo (I think she’s the wife of a French rock star, she’s so cool it hurts), Victorian Wheel, Justin Gossman, Lenny Kravitz.

How has your style evolved over the years?
It used to be very scattered. My closet was crowded with cool but scattered antiques that had limited ability to wear because I didn’t have a good base of unifying basics. I corrected this and limited myself to certain refined styles (for me no longer low bottom figures) and a limited color palette. If it’s not black, white, tan, ballet pink, red, neon, orange caldera, blue denim, etc., I don’t buy it. My style has become much more focused, vibrant and versatile as a result of the constraints.

Do you have a favorite designer? Who are they and what do you like about them?
Iris Van Herpen is a genius of sculpture. Her dresses are technical feats, but they also manage to evoke a terrible feeling of being in a museum closet for samples. On the less fantastic side, I adore the luxurious design of Halston of the 70s, and everything that Hedy Sliman touches on stems from the coolness of rock and roll that I aspire to.

How did you become acquainted with the design of Iris Van Herpen?
I became acquainted with her design through the Carnegie Art Museum. They had an exhibition of her work a few years ago and my jaw was lying on the floor. I have been following her career ever since.

When we met today, we talked about the exits, the places we miss. How do you feel about the overall scene of going out and getting dressed in Pittsburgh?
I think many of us are willing to go out and spy on other cool people, but I’m not part of the optimistic majority that plays into the view that it’s all over. The numbers are growing and growing again. When I come out, I will remain that rogue in the mask.

click to enlarge Meryl Francos - CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA

CP Photo: Tereneh Idia

Meryl Frances

Tell me what you’re wearing today. I love it and love the colored nod to the people who work around us at Hazelwood Green. High visibility green!

Anything I wear today, second hand or vintage. The blouse and skirt I got from thredUP. The medical back brace is vintage and purchased from Etsy – this is one of my favorite, unusual products that can be woven into the outfit. My bag is from Danse Lente, and Lucy’s heels – Cult Gaia – were both killed on The RealReal. My chandelier earrings belonged to my mother-in-law, and my square sterling ring and plastic ring for the level were purchased at Dargeit a few years ago.

Do you have a gift for yourself that you often wear?
My shoes are always my gift to myself.

Summer is coming. What do you expect in terms of style, activities, activities?
As hybrid work became scarce, I began to explore my personal summer style more outside the office, which is a lot of fun. As a result, the denim in my closet has probably doubled. The spring and summer real estate season is in full swing; my husband and I were looking for a country cottage that we could invest in as a vacation with our dogs, family and friends. I wish we had found something this year and enjoyed it.

If you could choose the clothes you saw, either historic or something fresh from the runway, what would it be, why and where would you put it on?
I am haunted by a 20-year-old memory of Joan Jet, a middle-aged man dressed in a black striped pin suit, who, on closer inspection, had small, thin metal zippers. It was the most exquisite punk costume I have ever seen and I can’t find this photo or this costume anywhere on the internet. I would wear it everywhere.


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